8 Aug 2011

Interest rate rise in September increasingly uncertain

8:06 am on 8 August 2011

An interest rate rise in September is looking increasingly uncertain following the turmoil on global markets.

Panicked selling of equities and commodities late last week spilled into the New Zealand markets, causing a slump in shares and the dollar.

Some economists say the Reserve Bank will now put a rate rise on hold but others believe it is too early to decide.

Westpac market strategist Imre Speizer says New Zealand's economy tends to benefit and suffer with the world's global cycles.

He says the volatility makes it less likely the Reserve Bank will remove the 50 basis point emergency cut brought in in March after the Christchurch earthquake.

He says if the global risk aversion persists for a few more weeks, it's likely the Reserve Bank will take the idea of a rate hike in early September off the table.

Hamilton Hindon Greene director Grant Williamson says the market started to price out a potential interest rate rise on Friday.

He says there is still some time to go before the Reserve Bank needs to make that decision.

The BNZ is sticking with its predictions - for now - that the Reserve Bank will remove the emergency rate cut in September.

Head of research Stephen Toplis says he is wary of making knee-jerk reactions.

He says despite jittery global markets the Reserve Bank should only be concerned about the risk of inflation.

But Deutsche Bank's chief economist Darren Gibbs says the latest market shock proves that there was not a strong case for the Reserve Bank to remove the emergency cut in September.

He says it illustrates how much can change in a very short time and in another fortnight things could look substantially worse or a lot better.

The Official Cash Rate is 2.5% at present.